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We work across national, provincial, district, community and individual levels to bring about sustainable change in education and livelihoods for the most marginalised people in Cambodia. 



Through the Improving Market Access for the Poor (IMA4P) programme, participant farmers have seen rice yields increase by 39% and incomes by 83% per hectare. 


Supported over 400 households to develop alternative livelihoods enabling them to diversify their income streams and reduce pressure on valuable fish stocks around Tonle Sap.


Introduced a new curriculum framework for teacher education. This will be taught throughout Cambodia's Teacher Education Colleges to all current and future teachers, improving education quality nationwide.

Inclusive education

Ponk Teuk School Thomas Roos

“I love going to school. It’s a really fun place to be. I learn a lot from our teacher, especially in my favourite subjects – languages and maths.”

14-year-old  Cheang Sreylin, Ponk Teuk School, where volunteers have supported the development teaching methods. 

Our goal is for equitable access to quality education services, especially for marginalised children.

We work to improve the quality of teaching in Cambodian schools. Our volunteer advisers train teacher trainers, school directors and teachers in child-centered teaching methods and coach them in their day-to-day work.

To improve equitable access to education we work in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.  Our education management advisers work together with Cambodian staff at all levels to put policy into practice.

We also contribute to advocacy and research for inclusive education policies by actively participating in the policy dialogue with government and other development partners. 

Recent results:

  • Working closely with the Cambodia Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports we have supported the development of a curriculum framework for teacher education. This will be taught throughout Cambodia's Teacher Education Colleges to all current and future teachers, improving education quality nationwide. This achievement will impact on every teacher and their students throughout Cambodia for the next generation.
  • In 2015 we supported the training and development of 540 senior education officials such as school directors and regional officers in order to improve the planning, coordination and management of schools.
  • Research conducted by the Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2015 concluded that our Basic English Language project – which increases the ability of practitioners to teach English, was as effective for students as private tuition.

Students are more enthusiastic about learning, pay more attention in class, and are more active in contributing their own ideas to discussions.

A primary school teacher in Stung Treng Province, where teachers are taught child-centered teaching methodologies by Marissa Thola, VSO Teacher Training Adviser.

Farmer Pech Boeun, leader of the Banan farming co-operative, Cambodia..jpg

“I came to Gionvanni’s [VSO volunteer] training sessions because I had no training or knowledge on business plans. Now I can practice what he showed us. I’ve encouraged the whole community to come to these sessions."


Farmer Pech Boeun, leader of the Banan farming co-operative.

Improving livelihoods

Agriculture is the foundation of the Cambodian economy. It is estimated that 80% of the population lives in rural areas. Despite this, agriculture remains relatively undeveloped, while the forestry and fisheries sectors are facing overexploitation.

Working to stimulate local economies to benefit the poorest means working at numerous levels, including:  

  • Supporting the training of poor farmers to develop new, more-productive techniques and combine them with improved business acumen to ensure greater, more secure income
  • Working to improve the market position of agricultural communities. Such as the creation of cooperatives and producer groups – who are able benefit from improved bargaining power
  • Advocating policy changes at national level on behalf marginalised groups within markets of agricultural, forestry and fishing sectors
  • Supporting employment opportunities for young people through training and supporting service providers.

Improving Market Access for the Poor

Improving Market Access for the Poor in Cambodia

Improving Market Access for the Poor (IMA4P) works across numerous levels to support poor farming communities to access the sustainable source of food and income they deserve. Within the rice market, this includes:

  • Equipping farmers with the knowledge to grow high quality rice suitable for external markets - to the levels required by the 'Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP)'
  • Working alongside suppliers to equip and train farmers with the farming inputs (pesticides etc) that enable farmers to maximise their yields whilst ensuring it meets SRP standards required for export
  • Supporting rice cooperatives to develop fair contracts with millers, ensuring supply meets demand and attaining a fair price for farmers
  • Working alongside cooperatives to ensure farmers can access finance and machinery necessary to run their farms as efficient businesses
  • providing farmers with business training to help  manage cash flow and calculating profit and loss.

I am now comfortable with this income. It’s about 40% more than it was before. I can send my children to school and buy us all food.  I’m really happy about IMA4P supporting me.

Prak Sim, farmer supported by IMA4P in Cambodia

Recent results:

  • Rice yields increased by 39% and incomes increased by 83% per ha. These changes are attributed to quality and quantity. The millers are beginning to get new orders for SRP rice which is increasing the market demand for Cambodia rice. 
  • New rice planting machinery introduced to cooperatives through IMA4P is allowing farmers to plant 70% less seeds yet reducing planting costs by 30%. 

More information on Improving Market Access for the Poor (IMA4P)

For more information, see the IMA4P project page

IMA4P project page

Inclusive Fisheries and Livelihoods on the Great Lake (SIFAL)

SIFAL works directly with 230 community fishery committee members to improve management of the natural fish resources in two provinces around the Tonle Sap.

The committees, elected by community members, develop management plans to support fishing sustainability and conservation. Activities include organised patrols to reduce impacts of illegal fishing as well as the installation of demarcation boundaries.

The SIFAL project has also:

  • Supported over 400 households to develop alternative livelihoods, through chicken raising, sesame, aquaculture and processed fish products enabling them to diversify their income streams and reduce pressure on valuable fish stocks.
  • Supported the development of saving and loans groups, to provide access to capital for investment in livelihoods. 

Empowering people

Our experience working alongside government, combined with a pool of experienced volunteers from a variety of specialisms means we are uniquely placed to support civil society organisations improve their services - better enabling those who are most marginalised lead their own development. We specifically focus on:

  • Equipping local networks with the expertise to ensure their financial viability and operational sustainability
  • Improving coordination between local networks to improve efficiency
  • Improving knowledge management of the organisations we work with
  • Enhancing  partners' ability to advocate 

Keira Thompson, Tania Tuzizila, Vannak Uch, & Luna Boran. The session takes place in the library of the local school in Banteay Char, near Battambang, Cambodia

Youth volunteers Keira Thompson, Tania Tuzizila, Vannak Uch, & Luna Boran at a Community Action Day raising awareness on the issue of deforestation. At the library of the local school in Banteay Char, near Battambang, Cambodia

Youth Volunteering

Alongside experienced professionals, youth volunteers from Cambodia and the UK support programme implementation across our education and livelihoods work.  

Young volunteers help bring passion and energy to our programmes. They easily connect with the young people we support and have shown great success in conducting research, raising awareness and in increasing local engagement around a number of issues. These include:

  • Supporting the development of peer to peer learning through Active Citizen Days
  • Assessing school environments and making them more child friendly
  • Increasing use of career and employment services available to local communities
  • Helping develop soft skills to increase employment and entrepreneurial opportunities  

Find out more about youth volunteering with International Citizen Service

What makes VSO different?

Volunteers are at the heart of what we do. Our programmes are delivered by energetic, passionate and skilled individuals who deliver sustainable solutions to tackle poverty. Evidence shows that results achieved through volunteering offer have a deeper and longer lasting impact and higher value for money.

Find out more about VSO's unique people-centred approach

In Cambodia we offer:

  • Experience: We have been working in Cambodia for 25 years and are firmly committed to the development of the country and its people. Many of our international and Cambodian NGO partners tell us that they regard VSO as a reliable facilitator and convener between government and civil society.  
  • Expertise: Over the years, we have supported many NGO networks, working groups and membership organisations in Cambodia. VSO is a member of numerous steering committees and in providing organisational mentoring, we have supported the development of many organisations in the country. We have first-hand experience of institutional governance arrangements and understand the sensitivities and issues surrounding development in Cambodia
  • Value for money: The seniority our volunteers possess gives them strong credibility with government officials and gains them considerable respect within a culture that values experience and wisdom. We source international technical advisers with years of relevant practical experience for a fraction of the usual cost, making VSO a cost effective alternative to traditional implementing partners.  
  • Flexibility: We offer different types of implantation and volunteering solution to best address development needs and context
  • A complementary and unique development model: We build meaningful relationships based on equality, respect and mutual commitment to learning. 

Partner with us

We have strong working relationships with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOYES), and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) as well as the National Committee for Sub-national Democratic Development (NCDD). At provincial, district and commune levels, we work with teacher training colleges, provincial and district offices of education, agricultural cooperatives and district councils.

To help implement our wide range of programmes we work alongside a number of local partners. These include NGO’s, local government authorities and cooperatives, including:

  • NGO Education Partnership (NEP)
  • Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT)
  • Cambodia Coordination Committee (CCC)
  • Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)
  • NGO Forum
  • Krom Akphiwat Phum (KAWP)
  • Open Institute
  • Provincial NGO Coordination Networks
  • Inter Church Cooperative for development cooperation (ICCO)
  • Community Capacities for Development (CCD)
  • Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT)
  • Agronome et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF)

Building on the proven successes of our programmes, we have ambitious plans to scale up our work. If you would like to be interested in partnering with us, we'd be delighted to hear from you.

Our Donors

We greatly value the support of our funding partners who help enable to make change happen. These include:

Accenture Foundation, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (MAFF), Department for International Development (DFID), the European Union (EU), the Government of the Faroes, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), UNICEF.

Contact us

Postal address: PO Box 912, Phnom Penh
Email address:
Office Telephone: +855 (0) 23 882 758
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Interested in volunteering?

Find out more about volunteering in Cambodia

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